Nice New Yorker cover after the US’s exit from the Afghan maze.
What’s the next maze, one wonders? Taiwan?
Quote of the Day
”There is no money in poetry; but then there is no poetry in money, either.”
- Robert Graves
Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news
My Back Pages | Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Eric Clapton & George Harrison
What a line-up.
Long Read of the Day
Steven Pinker Thinks Your Sense of Imminent Doom Is Wrong
Longish NYT interview with the great optimist himself.
The key, though, is what kind of species are we? How rational is Homo sapiens? The answer can’t be that we’re just irrational in our bones, otherwise we could never have established the benchmarks of rationality against which we could say some people some of the time are irrational. I think the answer is, especially for publicly consequential beliefs: We achieve rationality by implementing rules for the community that make us collectively more rational than any of us are individually.
Hmmm… Wonder if he spends much time on social media.
From the New Yorker
The real history of the telescope
Nice post by Thony Christie on his Renaissance Mathematicus blog:
On 25th August Google celebrated the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s first public presentation of his telescope an anniversary that is also commented upon in the latest addition of the Guardian Weekly, a compendium of the English daily newspaper The Guardian for ex-patriots like myself. It’s kind of nice to see the world paying a bit of attention to the history of astronomy but unfortunately they both got the date wrong! I suspect that both of them relied on the same news agency report and didn’t bother to check the facts. Well for those that care and even for those that don’t I have put together a short chronology of the early days of the telescope…
Automated hiring software is mistakenly rejecting millions of viable job candidates
The Verge has an intriguing report on research done by Harvard Business School and the consultancy firm Accenture which suggests that “an enormous and growing group” of people are unemployed or underemployed, and eager to get a job or increase their working hours but remain effectively “hidden” from businesses that would benefit from hiring them by the very processes those companies use to recruit people.
The researchers estimate that in the US there are, more than 27 million of these hidden workers, and similar proportions of in the UK and Germany.
So why are they ‘hidden’?
A major culprit is inflexibly-configured automated recruitment management systems (RMS) — workflow-oriented tools that help organisations manage and track the pipeline of applicants in each step of the recruiting process.
Anyone who works in the so-called HR (‘Human Resources’) department of a large organisation will have used one of these tools, which streamline the recruiting process by automating time-consuming aspects of it — e.g. scanning CVs, candidate scoring and interview scheduling.
“These systems”, says the report,
represent the foundation of the hiring process in a majority of organizations. In fact, more than 90% of employers in our survey use their RMS to initially filter or rank potential middle-skills (94%) and high-skills (92%) candidates.
These systems are vital; however, they are designed to maximize the efficiency of the process. That leads them to hone in on candidates, using very specific parameters, in order to minimize the number of applicants that are actively considered. For example, most use proxies (such as a college degree or possession of precisely described skills) for attributes such as skills, work ethic, and self-efficacy. Most also use a failure to meet certain criteria (such as a gap in full-time employment) as a basis for excluding a candidate from consideration irrespective of their other qualifications.
As a result, they exclude from consideration viable candidates whose resumes do not match the criteria but who could perform at a high level with training. A large majority (88%) of employers agree, telling us that qualified high- skills candidates are vetted out of the process because they do not match the exact criteria established by the job description. That number rose to 94% in the case of middle-skills workers.
And the consequences of this?
These automated systems
exclude from consideration viable candidates whose resumes do not match the criteria but who could perform at a high level with training. A large majority (88%) of employers agree, telling us that qualified high- skills candidates are vetted out of the process because they do not match the exact criteria established by the job description. That number rose to 94% in the case of middle-skills workers.
So why am I not surprised? Answer: I’ve had to use some of these systems in my time.
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